hello and welcome to bbc news — i'm nkem ifejika. the us state department says it's monitoring what it describes as ‘very disturbing' reports of a chemical weapons attack in syria. rescue workers and medics in the rebel—held enclave of eastern ghouta now say at least 70 people have died and hundreds more injured. the syrian government has denied carrying out any such attack in douma. lebo diseko reports — and there are disturbing images from the start. the victims of an alleged chemical attack, according to volunteer rescue workers in douma. this footage, supplied to the reuters news agency and not independently verified by the bbc, apparently shows medics desperately trying to help children and families. syria's government says the allegations are a fabrication. staff from the medical relief organisation on the frontline say they are worried about what could have been used. we received many patients have suffered from symptoms compatible with exposure to chlorine gas, high concentration chlorine gas. also, their symptoms
were deteriorating in a fashion that isn't compatible with pure chlorine gas exposure and that is where our physicians are concerned about exposure to nerve gas in low concentration. what is not disputed is the ongoing bombardment of douma, the last remaining rebel stronghold on the outskirts of damascus. weeks of assaults from the air and ground as the president's troops, backed by russia, try and reclaim control of the town. and that is perhaps why the us has been quick to blame both, saying: and it is civilians who suffer most as this conflict —— and it is civilians who suffer most as this conflict continues, more than seven years in and no end in sight. lebo diseko, bbc news. let's ta ke
let's take a look at some of the other stories making the news. the german authorities say that a man who drove a van into people outside a restaurant in the city of muenster was a german citizen with no apparently this terrorism. two people were killed and the driver shot himself dead. the german chancellor angela merkel said she was deeply shocked and offered condolences. defence officials in afghanistan say they've killed a senior commander of the islamic state group. they say a drone was used to target qari hekmat in the northern province of jawzjan. he had defected from the taliban to is a year ago. a number of senior members of the extremist group have been killed in afghanistan recently. opposition parties in hungary are calling for a mass turnout and tactical voting in sunday's parliamentary elections,
to prevent a fourth term in office for the prime minister viktor orban. mr orban told his supporters the poll is all about keeping migrants out of hungary. opinion polls put the governing fidesz party comfortably ahead. bucks the former brazilian president, luiz inacio lula da silva, has surrendered himself to police to begin a 12—year sentence for corruption. lula arrived by helicopter after turning himself in to brazil police and ending a day—long standoff that will see him begin serving a 12—year prison sentence for corruption. katy watson in sao paulo gave us this update. it's been the culmination of a tense few days here in brazil. it was the early evening when lula finally made it out of the union building after a previous attempt to try and get out in a car, but protesters stopped the car from leaving, but eventually walked out and was sped off in a car. he went straight to have a medical exam, a helicopter to the local airport and from there he is going to the southern city of coritiba, where he begins his 12—year prison sentence. i'm assuming, katy, this isn't the end of the story? it's not the end of the story. it's certainly the end of a dramatic
chapter in the brazilian political saga here. he will serve his sentence, he still says he wants to appeal, he's got two higher courts he can appeal to. he says he's not going to give up, even though he's handed himself in. no doubt lula will still be quite an influentialfigure. we've got presidential elections coming up in october and it'll be interested to see what happens then because he has said he still wants to stand, but of course he'll probably be prevented from doing so. it's been striking to see the support for lula but also the opposition. firefighters have been tackling a blaze at trump tower. one person has died and four firefighters have suffered minor injuries. let's get more now on our main story, the reports of a chemical weapons
attack in syria. in the past few minutes, the us has issued a new statement calling on russia to end its unmitigated support to the assad government immediately and calls on russia to work with the international community to prevent chemical weapons attacks. earlier i spoke witih kenan rahmani who is an advocacy campaigner with the syria campaign — a group that works closely working with the white helmets. i spoke to him a little earlier. today has been an absolutely horrific day in douma, the largest town in in eastern ghouta. there has been at least 48 hours of continuous bombardment. among that bombardment was one barrel bomb dropped by an assad regime aircraft, containing chemicals which quickly poisoned at first six patients who were taken to the nearby clinic, and then there was an additional 36 who were discovered dead. entire families were completely killed. the poison gas reflects the symptoms that we saw in the chemical attacks last year.
symptoms such as pinpoint pupils, foaming at the mouth, in addition to nervous system complications. so this seems to be something of a nerve agent, either sarin or vx or maybe another kind of nerve agent. so far we have 32 civilians confirmed dead but it's feared there are many more who are still stuck in their homes. many of the civilians killed were women and children who were hiding in the underground shelters, and because the air is lighter than the gas, or rather, the gas is heavier than air, the gas sunk into the underground shelters killing those women and children who were hiding from the bombs. that is a strong sign that this is a nerve agent of some kind. the teams are on the ground, but the problem is that the syrian air force and the russian air force continue to bomb the same area in which the chemical weapons were used. so rescue teams and medics are unable to reach the area, to reach the victims. on top of that, a major hospital in douma,
that hospital has been targeted, further limiting the ability of medics to respond to the chemical attacks. it is absolutely horrific. and these war crimes must be held to account, otherwise these kinds of crimes will continue with impunity. many of these civilians killed were women and children who were hiding in the underground shelters, and because the air is lighter than the gas, or rather, the gas is heavier than air, the gas sunk into the underground shelters, killing those women and children who were hiding from the bombs. i do not know whether you have had a chance to see some of the images which we have been getting. we must stress we have not had these images independently verified. to treat this with caution, what you are telling us now is based on the symptoms and the way that people are reacting, from your past experience, but none of these things have yet been tested in a lab, is that correct? no, these have not been tested in laboratories, obviously. but, you know, there is no explanation other than chemical weapons for the kinds of symptoms that we are seeing in such a large
number of patients. there is really no other explanation. what kind of support have you been able to give people? because this is a difficult situation to deal with, because it is not conventional warfare, in a sense, is it? absolutely not. this is a completely horrific situation. people are describing it like doomsday or they feel like it is the end of the world for them. people's entire families have been killed in a single poison gas attacks. the white helmets are on the ground trying to evacuate people, the syrian american medical society has teams on the ground, they are trying to do their best to help those who can be helped. unfortunately many of those who are dead, who were killed, they didn't even have time to move from their place and get out and get to fresh air.
that is a strong sign that this is a nerve agent of some kind. the teams are on the ground, but the problem is that the syrian air force and the russian air force continue to bomb the same area in which the chemical weapons were used. so rescue teams and medics are unable to reach the area, to reach the victims. on top of that, a major hospital in douma, that hospital has been targeted, further limiting the ability of medics to respond to the chemical attacks. it is absolutely horrific. and these war crimes must be held to account,
otherwise these kinds of crimes will continue with impunity. of course, many have said that the events in syria should be subject to potential war crimes prosecutions. should this be verified and confirmed, this will not be the first time that chemical weapons have been used in syria. for organisations such as yours, do you prepare for the potential of something like this happening, or do you just kind of sit and hope that it doesn't happen again? i mean, of course we always hope that the chemical warfare of the assad regime will stop. we hope that all of these weapons which are being used against civilians will stop. but the syrian and russian governments continue to be intransigent, they continue to violate all norms of human rights, of warfare, and so we are always
prepared for these kinds of scenarios. we ask ourselves, how many more syrians have to be killed? how many more chemical attacks have to happen, before the world comes together and acknowledges its responsibility in protecting these innocent civilians who are being killed and stops this horrific atrocity once and for all? russia's ambassador to the uk has requested a meeting with the foreign secretary, borisjohnson, to discuss last month's nerve agent attack in salisbury. the russian embassy in london said its relationship with the foreign office was utterly unsatisfactory. moscow denies trying to poison its former spy, sergei skripal and his daughter, yulia, who are both recovering in hospital. here's our political
correspondent, alex forsyth. well, the details of this invitation appeared on the russian embassy's website today and they said it was high time there was a meeting. they said the russian ambassador had written a personal note to the foreign secretary with this invitation and they hoped that uk would engage constructively. this seems to be part of efforts by russia to portray the british government as the ones who are being obstructive and uncooperative. russian officials have already questioned the decision to deny a visa to the cousin of yulia skripal, victoria. and to prevent consular access to the skripals in hospital. for its part, the foreign office has said it will consider this request and respond in due course but it's dismissed all of this as diversionary tactics, an attempt to deflect from questions about the russians‘ role in this attack. it has said that it is russia whose response has been unsatisfactory, it is russia that has failed to engage constructively. while sergei and yulia skripal, their condition is said to be improving, but diplomatic relations between russia and the uk most certainly are not. the mayor of london, sadiq khan,
says police officers should feel confident to stop and search anyone they suspect of carrying an offensive weapon. mr khan emphasised his support for the targeted use of the tactic, after more than 50 suspected murders in the city so far this year. an extra 300 officers are being deployed in areas of london worst affected by violence. simonjones reports. lives lost, families grieving, some living in fear. and the growing question, what can be done to tackle violent crime? with calls for the police to make more use of controversial powers to stop—and—search suspects for weapons. the number of searches has fallen dramatically in recent years amid fears that poorer areas and ethnic minority groups were being disproportionately targeted. when stop—and—search is used properly, it's
an invaluable tool to the police. we want more targeted, intelligence—led stop—and—search. the game changer as far as london should be concerned is we have had the biggest roll—out in the world of body—worn cameras. the advantage for members of the public is they should have the confidence that the police officer is recording the interaction between the police officer and the member of the public. hundreds of extra officers are on the streets of london this weekend. but some academics question whether using stop—and—search significantly reduces violent crime. the metropolitan police commissioner, cressida dick, said she backed searches done in a way that is targeted and intelligence—led. in east london, there's some support. this is the right time to do it. we've seen too many killed. people could feel targeted as well, why am i being stopped rather than me or this guy or this woman, or so on and so forth. let them stop me and search me. let them stop even the girls, because the girls are also in the gangs. here in hackney, flowers mark the spot where 18—year—old israel ogunsola lost his life this week. he was stabbed to death. many here say they've had enough.
they want an end to the violence. but there is recognition there may be no simple quick fix. one former chief superintendent with the met says much more needs to be done to prevent young people carrying weapons in the first place. i think we need to be doing much more in schools. and certainly when i've spoken to parents of children who have been murdered, one thing they say, all of them, without exception, is they want to see much more intervention at an earlier stage in schools. as the grieving continues, the mayor of london has invited the home secretary and all london's mps to a knife crime summit next week to discuss what else can be done in the fight against violence that is ruining so many lives. simon jones, bbc news. this is the bbc news. the headlines: reports from syria say that a chemical weapons attack has been carried out in a rebel held on clay
at the edge of the capital, damascus. rescue workers in the town of douma say at least 70 people have died. brazil's former presidents lula has ended a two—day stand—off and surrendered to police to begin a 12 year prison sentence for corruption. us national guard soldiers are deploying to the border with mexico. it is part of president trump's attempt to clamp down on illegal immigration, as his proposal to build a border wall is held up. at the flow of people continues. taking off to come down hard at the us border. president trump is mobilising state national guard troops to the country's southern frontier with mexico. texas is first. this deployment has begun with the movement of equipment and troops today. within 72 hours the texas military department will have 250 personnel, along with ground surveillance
vehicles as well as light and medium aviation platforms. others are coming. arizona will deploy 150 members of the reserve military force, and the president wants up to 4,000 there in total. it is to stop people like these: those crossing illegally into the united states. it is part of mr trump's proposed tougheranti—immigrant policies. also, on friday, he said he would end so—called "catch and release." that's the freeing of detained illegal immigrants while they wait to hear if they will be deported. instead, president trump wants to keep them in detention. we don't have laws, we have catch and release. you catch and you immediately release and people come back years later for a court case, except they virtually never come back. so we are preparing for the military to secure our border between mexico and the united states. such arrests on the border mark a four—decade low.
but pushed by poverty and violence in central america and mexico, hundreds of thousands of migrants every year are still willing to make the sometimes deadlyjourney to cross into the united states for a better life. translation: the truth is my plan is to work for a long time along the border. that is what i'm going to do. afterwards, god will say if i cross the border to the north, even if trump doesn't want me to. it has to be done. it is further straining the relationship between the us and mexico, over whose border tens of thousands of people cross legally for work and for trade every day. mexico's president called this week president trump's demands "disrespectful" on mexico to stop the flow of people, or the country's trade pact would be at risk. sending the national guard to secure the border has been done before, by both president obama
and george w bush. for president trump it is just a stopgap until he gets funding for his campaign promise of a border wall. something us congress is still to approve. salman khan has been released from jail after being granted bail. he has now arrived in his home city of mumbai. the indian actor was sentenced to five years in prison on thursday after being found guilty of killing two rare black buck antelopes 20 years ago. under the terms of his bail, salman khan has been ordered to pay $700 and will not be able to lead india without a court's mission. there has been a sense of huge jubilation, firecrackers have been
burst outside the courtroom by hundreds of bands of the bollywood superstar salman khan. ever since the news he was granted bail came out. this is the sessions court where the hearing has been on since the morning. the local authorities did not allow the superstar to come and attend the hearing in person. they fear it could become a law and order problem. as you can see, there are fans, a huge media presence. and family, who had come to the court hearing. this may be a temporary respite for salman khan, one of india's top superstars, but this surely is not a full respite. the case is still on in the hearing is set to resume soon. nitin srivastava, bbc news, jodhpur, india. the fifth day of the commonwealth games on australia's gold coast is well underway. it's the point at which the athletics programme begins. let's get the latest from the bbc‘s sports correspondent,
chris mitchell, who's there for us. chris? yes, good afternoon from the gold coast. the athletics gets under way here, but is anybody around the world taking any notice of it? that isa world taking any notice of it? that is a big problem for athletics right now because this is the first major championship, if you like, in over a decade, without usain bolt. if you talk to anybody here or anybody around the world and you say to them, athletics, who do you think of? they will say is same poll. but he isn't here, so athletics has a bit of a problem below profiling. tickets are still available for all of the sessions here, thousands of tickets available across the commonwealth games. does athletics have a problem without usain bolt and how was it going to address it? i spoke to lord sebastian coe, the head of the —— head of athletics, earlier. don't look at the fact that
we don't have usain as, you know, suddenly we have lost a generational talent. it is there. yes, you're right, it is up to us that we give voice and articulation to the athletes who can tell that story, and we need to to be immersed in how we get across to people that we have some of best god—given talents in any sport in any generation. lord coe was a bit twitchy about that question, and little bit uncomfortable. he acknowledged that athletics does have a problem. anyway, the heat is under way for the 100 metres for the men and the women. i guess the big name in the men's is johan blake. women. i guess the big name in the men's isjohan blake. he is getting long in the tooth, about 31 now. and he has been plagued with injuries throughout his career. and another new story we brought you yesterday about security, and security guards just leaving, unhappy with their accommodation and unhappy with the
pay they were getting. many of them have left. the organisers have acknowledged that. but face it isn't acknowledged that. but face it isn't a problem. —— and they say. acknowledged that. but face it isn't a problem. —— and they saylj acknowledged that. but face it isn't a problem. -- and they say. i want to assure everybody understands their owners security issues. we have plenty of security guards. part of that was a long—term strategy to make sure that we hadn't kept everybody particular estate. we don't have any concerns. along the way, at any event like this, there are hiccups. and there were a few. we believe it is all settled and resolved. well, there is so much going on around the commonwealth games. now that the athletics have got going pretty much everything is up got going pretty much everything is up and running. i can keep up—to—date with it all, it is too much going on for one man, sam mitchell that you log onto the bbc sport website. —— one man, so make sure that you log on. on the medal table, you will see australia at the top. they are by far the leaders. the athletics getting under way
today with the 20 kilometre walking race. quite understood the walking race. quite understood the walking race. hopefully we'll be speaking to dave smith, who won the men's race, and ask what that discipline is like. another competition we have found out much about in the last 2a hours is lawn bowls. look out for that piece tomorrow. it isn't a sport rolled men and old ladies. no, it is rock ‘n' roll. there are countries from all over the commonwealth right now taking part in various team competitions, doubles, individual competitions, with the finals on tuesday and wednesday. it really is interesting. in this part of the world, lawn bowls is a very big deal. let me just tell you about last night quickly. in the pool, more drama. we had backstroker is hitting the lane ropes. —— backstrokers. it is an open—air course when you are looking straight up you can see nothing that stars, or rain, because it was raining last night. adam peaty was the star in the pool. he won the 100 metres breast wrote in 58.8 seconds.
—— breaststroke. afterwards he wasn't happy, because he wants to be the first man to go under 57 seconds in the 100 metres breast wrote. he was almost two seconds outside of that time. nevertheless he still won the gold medal. what is he doing this morning? is he having a brea kfast of this morning? is he having a breakfast of champions? no, he is backin breakfast of champions? no, he is back in the swimming pool doing the heats for the 50 metres breaststroke, and i can tell you, he won his seat comfortable is so he is through to yet another final. so he is having a good commonwealth games. i dare say if you want to see him break 57 seconds you might have to wait, i'm afraid, untiltokyo, when they are swimming under the covers. so that is all from here. if you wa nt so that is all from here. if you want the latest idea arejews to go to the website —— latest, i do urge you to go to the website. go and check it out and you will see australia there are, by far the leaders in the middle table.
i've believe everything chris tells me apart from the bit where lawn bowls as the new rock ‘n' roll. i just don't believe that one, sorry. it's true! now let's look at some pictures from hungary. the polls have opened, because the prime minister, victor aubin, is have opened, because the prime minister, victoraubin, is hoping for a fourth term in office. —— orbin. his party has a huge lead in the opinion polls but it is thought there could be a high turnout. there is also tactical voting which could limit is viktor orbin's majority. his campaign has concentrated on mass immigration, but the opposition parties are complaining, they are worried about immigration, —— immigration, which is hundreds of thousands of hungarian is leaving hungary to seek a better life in the west. —— emigration. then we get those results you can see them here on the bbc. now, worshippers are
holding candlelit vigil is around the world for holy saturday for the orthodox christian easter eve tradition. let's look at russia. patriarch kirill let this beautiful easter mass in moscow's main cathedral. president vladimir putin was in the crowd for the midnight service. there he is. he is holding a candle. the same thing happening injerusalem, tens a candle. the same thing happening in jerusalem, tens of thousands a candle. the same thing happening injerusalem, tens of thousands of christian pilgrims gathering for the holy fire ceremony which dates back to the 800. 1200 years, a long—time to the 800. 1200 years, a long—time to how you measure it. this is greece, the island of corflute, where the tradition is to drop pots from a great height. —— corfu. people gather to watch the pop smash and chaired —— cheer them on. hopefully people don't get too close to that. that would not be a good way to celebrate easter, getting your head smashed. you can get in touch with me and most of the team
on twitter. i do tweet interesting stuff occasionally. now it is time for the weather. hello. mixed weather fortunes to start the weekend, some of us broken cloud and sunny spells and pleasently warmth, 19 degrees celsius at gravesend in kent, the uk's highest temperature of the year so far. looked pretty nice at whitstable as well. but not everybody enjoyed this kind of weather. there was a spell of rain moving north on saturday and for a while in the afternoon, cumbria looked like this. it will be cheerier in the day ahead. and this is what it looks like first thing. a mild start in south—eastern areas. but some patchy rain around. elsewhere, mainly dry. mist and fog, temperatures in mid to low single figures. the weather picture for part two of the weekend is fairly quiet for most of us but this weather front is a troublemaker, particularly who's going to get the rain from it. sunday a hard one to summarise. many northern and western parts of the uk might well stay dry, and get to see some sunshine at times. may catch a shower. there is the chance of rain covering much of england from that weather front i showed you.
this rain mayjust drift a little bit further west into parts of the midlands, maybe to dorset too, heading towards the east midlands and lincolnshire. some to the east of it, easternmost parts of england might avoid the rain and stay dry. with the exception of a few showers. elsewhere, scotland and northern ireland, sunny spells developing, one of two showers, not everybody will catch one. one or two showers breaking out too towards westernmost england and wales, but also seeing some sunshine. temperatures around 10 or 1a degrees, cooler, where you have the sunshine yesterday, it might feel a bit warmer than yesterday. brightens up in the afternoon. still to south—eastern parts on sunday evening, some outbreaks of rain. looking ahead to monday, we still have this weather front just edging a little bit further westward, or trying to. plenty of cloud. we still have scattered showers in scotland and northern ireland. some heavy. the best of the sunny spells here. similar temperatures across the united kingdom. not a huge deal of difference from our weather on monday. but there are developments as we go
through the week ahead. on tuesday, still come weather fronts close by. i can show you this picture which has high pressure in scandinavia and a developing easterly flow. we have seen that before in recent months. don't worry. nothing too beastly in the week ahead. there will be that developing easterly flow. look at the wind arrows here. what that means is plenty of cloud coming in. some outbreaks of rain coming in from the east. quite chilly along the north sea coast. probably the best of any limited brightness in the west of the uk.